Hyundai Elantra named 2012 North American Car of the Year

Jan 9, 2012

The 2012 Hyundai Elantra has been named the 2012 "North American Car of the Year" by a jury of 50 automotive journalists.

The announcement was made at the Detroit Auto Show this morning.

To be eligible for the award, a car model must have gone through a significant redesign from previous model years and be expected to have reasonable sales numbers in North America.

The U.S. News "Best Cars" report says this of the 2012 Hyundai Elantra:

Most members of the automotive press agree that the 2012 Hyundai Elantra outshines many of its competitors because it’s well-rounded. For example, the Elantra has high fuel economy ratings of 29/40 mpg city/highway, and unlike the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze, shoppers don’t need to upgrade to higher trims to get those figures.

According to the North American Car and Truck of the Year website, the 50 jurors judged the car on things such as "value for the dollar, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction." 

The other two finalists in the North American Car of the Year Award were the 2012 Volkswagen Passat and the 2012 Ford Focus (see photos in slideshow above).

The award has been given out for the last 19 years. This is the second time the  Korean automaker, Hyundai, has won the award.

The Hyundai Genesis won in 2009.

More from the NACTOY website:

Domestic automakers have won North American Car of the Year ten times. European automakers have won four times, Japanese automakers have won three times. A Korean automaker – Hyundai - has won once.

Prior to announcing the award at the Detroit Auto Show, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took the stage to highlight the success of the restructuring of Chrysler and General Motors. The "Big Three" U.S. automakers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) have returned to profitability for the first time since 2004.

LaHood said the cars here at the Detroit auto show represent the return of the American automakers.